Vineyard Park assisted-living facility to break ground in early 2013

By Doug Petrowski

Mountlake Terrace will start seeing new construction along 56th Street West in early 2013 when the Vineyard Park development breaks ground on a 96,000 square foot, four-story assisted living facility. And while city officials are grateful to have another project going up in the Town Center district, it isn’t exactly the type of development they were hoping to see come to “Main Street” in Mountlake Terrace.

Once completed in the spring of 2014, Vineyard Park will be capable of housing 115 assisted living and dementia care seniors. The project is being conceived “to serve the senior community in Mountlake Terrace and surrounding communities,” said project designer Kevin Carl of Urban Innovations Group of Seattle.

While senior housing will make up the top three floors of the building, the ground floor will have dining facilities, a spa, a beauty shop, and other amenities for residents of the development. Carl explained that while the first floor will be designed specifically for Vineyard Park residents, the facilities’ owner may make meal plans available for purchase to seniors living outside the facility.

“The senior market is evolving,” Carl said, “and the owners are looking at opportunities to expand to make the project profitable.”

When city officials changed zoning ordinances in the Town Center district in 2007 they were hoping to attract development that would include ground floor businesses facing the street, something the Vineyard Park development doesn’t include.

“Our strong preference is for businesses facing the street to be open to the general public,” said Shane Hope, City of Mountlake Terrace Community and Economic Director. “The city’s code leaves the specific model of commercial use up to the individual businesses.”

“It is up to the businesses to decide whether to be open to the general public or limit their customer base,” Hope added. “While a few businesses may opt for a limited model, many others will be marketing to the general public.”

It is expected that the Arbor Village Apartments development, at the southeast corner of 56th Avenue West and 236th Street Southwest, will have street-facing, ground-floor businesses when it is completed in the summer of 2013.

Another new development, the Mountlake Senior Living Apartments set for the 5400 block of 244th Street Southwest and hoping to break ground in early 2013, does not have any street-facing, ground-floor businesses in its plans.

The City Council has taken action they hope will limit any additional development in the Town Center district to that which includes ground-floor businesses open to the general public. “The last time the Town Center zoning code was amended, it removed the option for adding assisted living facilities, which tend to orient their commercial services to residents,” Hope explained. “Now, except for those already vested with submitted applications, no new assisted living facilities are allowed in the Town Center.”

The city may not be done refining its plans for the Town Center area. “We will be reviewing the Town Center zoning code next year to consider whether any refinements should be proposed to help implement the overall vision and intent for a vibrant downtown,” Hope said.

Demolition of current buildings at the site of the Vineyard Park development, on the west side of the 23000 block of 56th Avenue West, is scheduled for this December. A former cabinet business occupied half of the block; an electrical contractor, Electric-City, 23008-56th Ave. W., is planning to move to Mulkiteo.

Construction of the new Vineyard Park project is expected to take 12-14 months.

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